Main > Joel's March 2004 News

"So Joel, yet I can't turn away."
--George Koshy

Sunday, March 28th 2004

Alright, it's 3:48pm, and I'm waiting for the car service to come pick me up, and take me to La Guardia. I'm off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard....of Kansas City, Missouri. Have I ever been to Missouri? No, but I'm looking forward to the trip.

Neil's dinner was fun last night. Went to church this morning with the wife, then grocery shopping (fast!), then I went cycling for an hour. Back here to shower, pack, yada yada.

See you all on Friday!

Friday, March 26th 2004

So tired.

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2004 Acura TL. So sweet.

Got to work at 8am this morning. I can not tell you how many people were shocked. Shocked!, I say. I got a good couple of hours-worth of work done, spent 7 minutes repeatedly trying to make an "Out of Office" voicemail greeting that didn't make me sound like a moron, then I was out the door. By the time I got home at 12:20pm, the Select Comfort guys were waiting in the building driveway. Long story short -- the bed is installed, and so far, so good. I do think we need new pillows. [And so it begins. Next week, I'll have a new car, because of some slippery-slope argument I won.]

Speaking of cars, how sweet is the 2004 Acura TL? It has some great features (hello, 5.1 surround sound, subwoofer, and DVD-Audio), but it's priced reasonably. Love the styling too, inside and out.

Excuse me, but they made a direct-to-video sequel to Wild Things? Huh? What? Why?

After the bed was set up, I made the bed (gotta use new sheets on a new bed!), and took a nap for an hour. Still groggy, I hit the road on my bike (of course, I dressed, stretched the muscles, etc.) for about 3 hours, covering 15.5 miles through the towns of Montclair, Little Falls, Great Notch, Wayne, Cedar Grove, and Verona. 15.5 miles doesn't sound like a lot, however, but definitely the toughest 15+ miles of my life. I'm not sure how, but it was uphill the entire ride and back. Okay, maybe 3 good downhill rides where I hit over 30 MPH (Thank you, Mr. Cyclocomputer), but for the most part, I was going uphill somewhere. Still, going uphill really works the muscles, and gets the heart pumping.

Then again, that stitch in my side from all the pedaling really hurt.

Julie came over while we were making Indian food (okay, the wife did the directing, but I sliced stuff, mixed the spices, and ground some cloves), and we watched Amelie. What a friggin' odd-but-interesting French (with English subtitles) Indie movie.

Visiting the parents tomorrow, and if my legs are up for it, I'm cycling in the afternoon again. Dinner in the city for Neil in the evening.

Oye! Full day ahead, and it's only the weekend too!

Thursday, March 25th 2004

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DVD box art for the upcoming SW original trilogy
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City Marriott Country Club Plaza

Real brief update, as I need to get to bed, and up early. Will this actually happen? Loan sharks want to know.....

  • Finished Day 2 of the diet, and so far, so good. Haven't cheated yet. A nasty egg/bacon wrap for breakfast, mini salad and wings for lunch, and creole beef, and peas (seasoned with creole seasoning and lemon-pepper flakes) for dinner. Num had an additional helping of rice with hers. Ah, rice. I knew ye well.
  • Apprentice was interesting. Katrina is out. Num made a very astute observation today: the women's skirts were really short. Gotta love it. The short skirts I mean.
  • Box art for the upcoming DVD release of the original Star Wars trilogy is out.
  • That woman on Average Joe, the one who's from Rockland? Yeah, my friend Vib knows who she is. Get this -- his former guidance counselor's daughter. I've come to the realization that Vib knows everyone. Jerk. Probably has her number too.
  • Been playing around with the Norton Antispam program, and setting up additional rules so that I can attempt to cut down on emails regarding mortgages, viagra, etc, etc. Uh, I just realized something. You know how those emails may spell words funny? ("Get some G.e.n.e.r.i.c V-I-A-G-R-A", for example.) Well, those dickhead spammers are trying to circumvent any rules YOU are setting up to block. For instance, your mail app, or antispam software may filter out "Viagra" or "Vi agra", but what about "mortgggage". It may not be looking for dashes, dots, etc. How sneaky. Wonder if Vib has the numbers for their sisters? Hmmm......
  • Bed is being delivered tomorrow afternoon between 1-3pm. Guess who's taking a half day from work?
  • How is this a brief update?
  • Tomorrow will be a mad dash to get my work done, complete timesheets, etc, before I leave at 11ish to catch my train.
  • I'm staying at the Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza starting Sunday. It'll be good to get some Marriott Rewards points, as it's been a while (November.) Here's the hotel exterior, and it looks pretty nice.
  • Damn, I totally forgot to get that disposable camera (from the Chicago trip) developed. How stupid am I?
  • Hellboy got an excellent review from a reviewer on Ain't-It-Cool-News. I feel better about it. Comes out next week.
  • Julie is coming over tomorrow night to watch some French indie movie she has on DVD. Hmm, how are the wife and I going to tear ourselves from our cool new bed? And for a Frenchie movie?
  • If the weather holds up, I'm going cycling in Rockland on Saturday afternoon after visiting my parents. If I'm lucky, I'll have some time tomorrow after the bed delivery.
  • Saturday night is dinner with my friend Neil and some friends, on account of Neil's birthday or something. Damn, and I can't have a drop of alcohol due to the diet. Oh, cruel fate, why!?!

Okay, that's my update. Love it, or leave it.

Wednesday, March 24th 2004

Started my new diet today....after breakfast. I do admit to having a bagel with cream cheese, but I wanted to get that craving out of my system. No worries, because I had a salad for lunch, and porkchops for dinner. And some chicken strips. And pistachios. And plenty of water.

I just ordered some new cycling shorts and jerseys from Performance Bike. Hopefully should all be here by end of next week. The weather is really starting to warm up, so I'm hoping to go riding again tomorrow evening at the earliest.

Just watched Pleasantville on TNT (yech, commercials) this evening. Can someone explain to me the very last scene? Please email me.

NIS 2004 is working fine today, and I even figured out why Num's laptop (upon bootup) always opens up the Windows\System32 folder for no apparent reason. Easy fix, after some research. If you have the same problem, the answer lies in your Windows Registry. Email me if you need help -- I'm the whiz.

Remember that Miller Lite commercial (you'll see the link) where the really hot women get into a catfight? Turns out, there is ensuing drama, heaving on the suing. One of the women has filed suit with the producers of the commercial, stating she "expected the wrestling video to be done in a 'high-class manner.'" Go figure.

Final news -- I got the call from Select Comfort this evening. I scheduled a delivery on Friday afternoon, so I may have to take the afternoon off in anticipation.

Tuesday, March 23rd 2004

Took the day off today to study for the CIA exam. I still don't know if I'll be ready by May. I may just decide to continue studying, and take the 3 parts in November. It's not like I'm in a rush or anything.

This morning, I purchased The South Beach Diet book, and Norton Internet Security 2004 (by download) before I saw there was upgrade pricing (I already had NIS 2002), or the $30 rebate on Ever have one of those days?

I'm looking forward to The South Beach Diet book, which already arrived at my office today, since Barnes & Noble has same-day delivery on most items in NYC. It's nice to work in the city. My friend Gary and his wife did the diet, and he lost a lot of pounds in the first few weeks. I figure the diet could get me a headstart on my weight-loss and muscle-toning plan, and the exercising (eventually 3x a week) will get me where I want to be....160 lbs. The closest I've dropped down to is 163 lbs about 3 years ago, and I've slowly bulked up (in the wrong way) over the past 3 years. That was through good exercise 3x a week, and a quality diet. I need to get back to the basics. The weather is going to be better this week, so the light can definitely be seen at the end of the tunnel.

Checked out that Average Joe: Adam Returns site, and one of the contestants is from New City NY. That was the town next door to my hometown. New City is where most of my friends lived, and where I went to high school. Wow. I may actually have to see what this woman is like. BTW, have I mentioned that my 10-year high school reunion is coming up this November? How freaky.

I really need to get in shape by then. I was such a fat nerd back then. Damn those rich, popular (did I mention rich?) kids that I went to school with?

ARGH. I've neve been to Kansas City, or a Star Trek Convention, but I'm going to Kansas City next week. Here's the tie-in: I leave Kansas City on April 1st to go home, and then there's a Star Trek Convention starting on April 2nd in Kansas City. How unfair is that? There is going to be a whole slew of Star Trek actors showing up there, and I'm going to miss it. I've already booked my flight!

Oh, cruel fate! Why!?!?

Monday, March 22nd 2004

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Optimus Prime.....[Joel turns into a 4th grader all over again.]

How do I explain this? I grew up on G.I. Joe, Thundercats, Volton, etc, but most of all, on Transformers. I even have most of the Transformers comics, including #1. Yes, #1. Now, they do have newer comics, and a series, but frankly, they're utter crap. Anyway, guess what's out? The 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime.

It's $74.99, but I want this so bad. What do I do? This one actually transforms into truck, comes with original weapons, has a mini Autobot Matrix of Leadership, and the Matrix GLOWS BLUE. Uggghhhhhhhh.........[continues salivating as he regresses into that stupid Elementary schoolkid.]

Went out for Vietnamese for lunch with coworkers. Hmm, good, but I still prefer Thai cuisine over Vietnamese.

Sunday, March 21st 2004

Didn't make it to church today, on account of oversleeping.

Didn't make it to Sandhya's birthday party at Lot 61 last night. Wife was sleeping.

You would think we'd be more rested all the time.

Instead, last night and this morning, I've been working on the NYIIA site and my site, fixing things here and there. You know, little stuff. Mostly the Toys, About Me, and Pet Peeves sections. I should probably update the My Favorites page too, but it looks alright to me. Yeah, that's right. I'm giving away the secret location of my Easter Egg pages. Either:

  • you've found them by now, read them, and should look again for the updates
  • never found them, because you're a moron
  • never really cared to look, and I've put effort into writing those pages, so please look!

What else is going on? Friday (boring office day, btw), a couple of us went to Mandoo Bar in K-Town (the Korean neighborhood in the 30's) for lunch. I had Mandoo Ramen, which is basically Ramen noodle soup with meat dumplings, albeit spicy. I liked it, and it was light. To cap that off, I bought a Giant ice cream sandwich. Hmm, that was even better.

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My morning walk, after the recent snowfall
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Park Ave

BTW, here are some pics from yesterday. One is from my morning walk to the train station, because I liked the way the trees looked. Also, a picture of Park Ave and the MetLife building on the way back from lunch.

Oh, I went riding yesterday afternoon. Boy, it was cold. I stood out in front in my PJ's and t-shirt, deciding if I should go out. I decided I could, but I had to wear some layers. Regular shorts over my cycling shorts, and a t-shirt over my long-sleeve jersey. Was it still cold? Yes, but manageable. 13.5 miles round trip, my legs are feeling fine, and I've got the cobwebs off. Later this week, I'll bump up the trip mileage higher.

After I do the dishes (last night, I made Korean BBQ chicken stir-fry), we're heading up to Rockland to visit my parents, and then to my cousin Shaun's house. He got married in November in India, and his wife finally got her visa, and arrived last week. We're going to meet her.

Seriously, I haven't seen a movie since around Valentine's Day, and those were Blockbuster rentals.

Thursday, March 19th 2004

I wait a week for The Apprentice, and it's a clip show? Damn you Mark Burnett and Donald Trump.

I went to bed at 12:30am sharp last night (which is damn early for me), and I still overslept this morning. I think I'm getting to the office earlier if I just sleep less.

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Gratuitous nudity!

Added 30 new photos to the My Family page. My goodness -- 2 years without activity, and now I'm adding something every day. You all should be pleased.

Well, not as pleased as I'll be when my inflatable bed arrives. I'm pretty sure the wife and I are going to romp around the new bed that night. [If you know what I mean.]

That's right. I went there.

Wednesday, March 17th 2004

MS Bike Tour in NYC

Today was pretty awesome. Turns out, there were about 4 other people in my department getting promoted. Also, lots of food to go around. My fudge brownies and cannolis were gone by mid-afternoon.

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Someone's spread on Promotion Day (not mine!)

It snowed all day today, but we might hit 52 degrees Sunday, so I'm looking forward to getting some time on the road. Looking ahead to next weekend on, we might be hitting 60. It's about friggin' time, if you ask me. During training class Monday and Tuesday this week, I started fantasizing about....the open road. Somebody get me on medication.

Had drinks with my friend Gary, as he's only in town for a few days before he ships out for East Asia for four weeks. Yikes. The life of an Internal Controls manager is never dull.

So, I'm considering participating in 3 cycling events this year:

Yes, I'm pretty excited this year. I plan to have a lot of fun this summer. I just have to pick and choose what I want to do.

Tuesday, March 16th 2004

Alright, time for the big news.

1) I'm getting promoted! Yeah, that's the big news, and I've been holding it in for a while, as I wasn't supposed to mention it until tomorrow. I can't tell you how happy I am. I'm a "Senior Auditor", got a fat raise and bonus, and did I mention I got promoted?

2) Because of her "inspiring" work [their words, not ours] at school (she's a talented gal), she'll be helping with the school's upcoming 5-year fundraising campaign. She'll be meeting with donors, making phone calls, organizing events, etc. Also, she gets a fat raise.

Folks, we call that success. How sweet it is.

I have no idea why it's snowing today, when I'm dying to go riding already. Speaking of which, pictures of my new road bike upgrades on the right. I still need to get the disposable camera from the Chicago trip developed.

Oh, I finally figured out what to do with the My Family section. I realized that I don't have time to be putting together a family tree, and it may not be that interesting for people. Instead, I'm going to showcase family photos from when Num and I were growing up. If you were at the wedding, most of the photos were used in the slideshow that we put together. Missed the slideshow? I'll be adding the photos a few at a time.

As an IT auditor, I'm planning to get involved with the ISACA NY Chapter. Figure that since I'm an IT auditor, shouldn't I be involved there? Yes, yes I should. I'm thinking the Academic Relations committee or something.

Monday, March 15th 2004

Barely made it on time to the training class today. Well, maybe 15 minutes late, but I did hustle to the Montclair train station. Turns out, as I arrived, they were moving rooms because of all the noise from the construction going on. Anybody notice little old Joel? Nope!

Funny quote to share, from SNL this past weekend.

"DirecTV has filed suit against O.J. Simpson, accusing him of pirating its satellite-television signal. In an unrelated story, DirecTV has been stabbed to death."
— Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update."

Sunday, March 14th 2004

Did some grocery shopping at Stop & Shop (our Sunday ritual), and picked up my well-tuned, ready-to-go bike. I also picked up some extra sillica gel to lubricate all the moving parts, a mini air-pump that attaches to my bike frame (for pumping extra air into the tires), an extra bike tube (in case I got a flat somewhere), and finally, a Vetta RT-33 cyclocomputer.

A cyclocomputer? Yes, a little doodad that monitors velocity, distance, and all that necessary info that I've always wanted to know. Pretty cool. I just finished folding all the laundry, and it's 3:46am Monday morning, so I'm too tired to put it all in Recent Purchases at the moment. Maybe tomorrow.

Why was I up this late...again? Oh, scanning pictures for Num's yearbook project. Time for sleep. I'm in "Auditing Oracle Databases" training all day tomorrow and Tuesday. I'm hoping a few hours of sleep will keep me from nodding off while the instructor is talking.

Oh, also, right after we dropped off the bike and groceries at home, we drove over to Short Hills Mall (BTW, I think I've only seen more BMWs at the dealership itself), and ordered a Queen-size Select Comfort bed. We got the two wired remotes, a pillow-top (is this a new thing?), yada yada. Should be here in two weeks. It's a sizable chunk of change, but I gotta admit that it's pretty darn comfortable.

Saturday, March 13th 2004

Dropped off my shirts to the cleaners, dropped off my bike at Brookdale Cycle to get tuned up, learned from the owner how to change a tire (in case I get a flat), and got a haircut from a nice lady at Supercuts in Clifton. In the evening, Num finally wakes up, and we go to IHOP for dinner. We ate breakfast, and she ordered the new Stuffed French Toast. Her opinion? Really really sweet, so she gave it a "Thumbs Down" on it.

After we get home, I finally realize what Num has been saying about the mattress being too uncomfortable -- now even I can feel the springs poking my body. She says she isn't even comfortable sleeping at night. Doh! We've been taking about the Select Comfort bed, but now I'm ready to order it.

Friday, March 12th 2004

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Dinner @ East

Friday night, I met up with Tom and a few of his friends for drinks (for, like, an hour) at this bar McFadden's Saloon on 42nd & 2nd, and then met Num at Grand Central Terminal, whereby we then proceeded to go for dinner. We've have a lot of great career news, and it was definitely time to celebrate. As she's on this whole sushi kick, we went to East on 44th and 3rd.

After we got back home, [here comes the gross part -- jump to Saturday's entry], I caused a little ruckus with the toilet, and the toilet wasn't working no more. Two flushes later, and I've got a blocked up toiletbowl. Being around midnight, luckily the nearby Pathmark is open 24 hours. I pick up a $1.99 plunger (cheap, and turns out, there was a reason), and within the hour, I'm unsuccessfully plunging the toilet. One more flush later, and I've got an overflowing toiletbowl.

All over the bathroom floor, and my never-saw-it-coming feet. This ordeal has so far taken an hour. Why I didn't pick up some Liquid-Plumr at Pathmark, I have no idea. For the next 90 minutes, I am still working the cheapo plunger on that damn toiletbowl, which has now proceeded to overflow and flood my bathroom 3 more times. Luckily, we shop at BJ's Wholesale Club, and I ended up using about 7 rolls of Bounty paper towels. I'm not even exaggerating.

Yes, 3 more times, and I've already begun using this little plastic bowl (which I find under the bathroom sink) to bail out the toiletbowl so it won't overflow. Let me tell you something. Bailing out water from your sinking boat isn't gross. Using one hand to hold the mechanism in the toilet tank so it won't fill up with water, while you use the other hand to bail out water from your toiletbowl into the sink, while things are floating in the water has got to be the grossest ordeal of my life.

Don't forget the toiletwater sloshing around my bathroom floor (and my feet.)

At around 2 1/2 hours after the 1st fateful flush, I shut off the water to the toilet, and page my superintendent. He shows up in 10 minutes with this snakey thing about 5' long, and clears out the toilet in 6 minutes.

I....could...have...died from the shock that I experienced at that moment. Dumbfounded would probably be another choice description. Exhausted, use two more rolls of paper towels to soak up the water, Clorox Bleach the entire floor, I lay down some newspapers, take a shower to wash the filth off my poor body, and zone out in front of the tv for an hour, then hit the bed.

Wednesday, March 10th 2004

And I'm back. Missed me?

I was going to write this whole spiel on Friday night, announcing that I was headed to Chicago Saturday morning for my training class, that I was excited to go, to see Paul and Sean, and do some sightseeing, etc.

Instead, I was really busy. Cie la vie. I took pictures with a disposable camera, and will get them developed and soon as I finish the roll.

Summary of the trip? It was good, weekend was fun, learned a lot, and I'm pretty psyched about my job, and my career plans. Finally!

Wednesday, March 3rd 2004

Shout out to my homeys: Mike "I'm George Lucas' bitch" G., T-Bear, The Gopher, and Deep. Enjoy your one-night-only celebrity status.

Excellent Star Trek Enterprise cliffhanger episode tonight. It's about time.

Been studying for Part 1 of my exam. Seriously, some of the most boring material I've ever read.

Tuesday, March 2nd 2004

After The Apprentice is over, I'm not watching any more reality shows. It's all just way too contrived. Here's the update on Average Joe 2. As per TV Guide today,

"Don't be fooled by last night's finale of Average Joe: Hawaii, folks. Despite what NBC led us to believe, pretty vapid boy Gil did not dump pretty vapid girl Larissa after learning that she once dated pretty vapid model Fabio. Appearing on the Today show this morning, the pretty vapid couple confirmed that they are still very much an item. Where does all this leave jilted everyman Brian? Pretty much better off."

I'm done with it. Yeah, that's right. Reality tv broke my heart.

McDonald's is phasing out super-sizing?

Monday, March 1st 2004

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Not the 1st time Fabio broke up a relationship

So, against my better judgement, I watched the end of Average Joe 2. I only watched the last 20 minutes, but boy, what an interesting 20 minutes. As I watched Larissa with the two last guys (Pete-Hunk and Brian-Auditor-and-average-Joe). My thoughts:

  • The Pete guy was a questionable choice. At dinner, Larissa asks him what he wants out of all this. Romantically, he declares, "I want to be an actor!"
  • On her date with Brian, all her interest in him seemed contrived, for the sake of the show.
  • At the end of the show, she chose the "hunk" Pete. Typical. Now that's twice now. Is there a point in watching a sequel? I don't think there's any suspense.
  • Now here's where it got ridiculous. During the entire lead-up, NBC harped on about Larissa's big secret. A kid? Used to be a man? Syphilis? After 3 romantic days (and nights), she tells him....that she used to date Fabio. And this is where it veered into the weird, shocking, and unbelievable. Her "hunky man" completely freaks out, yelling and cursing, and leaves her. Yeah, leaves her. His explanation? "She dated Fabio. Any American guy who was in my position would understand." They end the show with her crying, showing images of "Average Joe" Brian that she ditched.

I'm sorry, but from what I've seen, that Larissa is a pretty-yet-shallow chick, and she chose a shallow guy. BTW, are you shocked that there's a Fabio International Fan Club? I guess I shouldn't be.

BTW, I thought I'd share my current (and soon-to-be-former) magazine subscriptions. Uh, no reason in particular. Figured it'd a nice random thing to share.

  • Kiplinger's Personal Finance [started recently, because I like the personal advice. Had Forbes for a year, but it was pretty boring. This seems more applicable to our financial situation.]
  • Time [just subscribed today]
  • Bicycling [new]
  • Maxim [wrapping up, because I'm kinda bored with all the stupid stuff mixed in with a few good things]
  • PC Gamer [wrapping up, because there's no point in reading about cool games that I can't play on my computer. If I get a new computer in December, I'll restart the subscription.]

Sunday, February 29th 2004

Ah, leap day. Totally forgot about it. Woke up nice and late today. Did some studying today, as well as catch a few hours of the Quantum Leap marathon on the Sci-Fi channel (Quantum Leap - Leap Day....get it?). Missed most of the Academy Awards, but tuned in every once in a while, while watching a bit of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (just the two good parts), and watched "The Last Mission" on the History Channel. I had no idea that there was a last tenseful U.S. bombing run on Japan just after the A-bomb dropped on Nagasaki, or an almost coup d'etat by factions of the Japanese military that same night. Fascinating.

Okay, it's 2:31am, and I need to go to bed. Oh, before I forget, the weather is getting warm, and you know what that's almost cycling season. I've got a light week ahead of me, but I'm flying to Chicago on Saturday to meet Paul, Sean, and then attend a training class Monday through Wednesday. When I get back, I'm going to pick up my bike from my parents' place, get it tuned up, and be on the road. I need to get back into form.

The warm weather is starting to arrive. Finally!

Dining Table and chairs
--Christmas gift from Num!

Wine Rack
--Christmas gift from Julie!